Dr. Lonnie Smith Octet

Dr. Lonnie Smith Octet

Awarded his doctoral honorific by his peers, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith is a seminal figure in the soul-jazz movement who first gained widespread attention by putting the groove into Lou Donaldson’s classic 1967 Blue Note record Alligator Boogaloo. His own classic 1960s Blue Note sessions such as Think and Turning Point showcased some of the era’s most prodigious players, including Lee Morgan, David “Fathead” Newman and Bennie Maupin, and introduced the world to a singular musician who has mined the deeply funky potential of the Hammond organ more than anyone else. Following a decade-long break in recording, Smith released a series of acclaimed albums on Palmetto, leading the Jazz Journalists Association to vote him “Organ/Keyboardist of the Year” six times since 2003. He started his Pilgrimage label in 2012 and has just issued the new double-CD, In the Beginning, Volumes 1 & 2, featuring a powerhouse octet including longtime Dizzy Gillespie guitarist Ed Cherry and tenor saxophone great John Ellis  – the group Smith brings to the SFJAZZ Center. In The Beginning revisits the compositions from those 1960s albums, reworked and revitalized for this horn-heavy band fully infused with a generous dose of funky soul. The doctor is most definitely “in.”

Artist Personnel

Dr. Lonnie Smith Hammond B3 Organ
John Ellis tenor saxophone
Jason Marshall baritone saxophone
Andy Gravish trumpet
Alan Ferber trombone
Ed Cherry guitar
Johnathan Blake drums
Munyungo Jackson percussion

Artist Website

"Dr. Smith is a wonder. " — The New York Times
"Mr. Smith is emblematic of jazz-organ tradition and yet is also an exception. He summons mystery or humor as befits the moment." — Wall Street Journal